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Global unions stand together against the Trade in Services Agreement

02 October 2014
“Trade matters to everyone because the rules affecting services intrude into every area of our life.” said Daniel Bertossa, PSI Director of Policy & Governance at the WTO Public Forum in Geneva, on Wednesday 1st October 2014. “The Trade in Services Agreement will deregulate financial services, liberalise the public sector and restrict democracy in our countries", continues Bertossa.

Over 100 participants took part in the panel session on “How a proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) matters to everyone”. Public Services International (PSI), UNI global union and the International Union of Food workers (IUF) joined forces to raise awareness on the dangers of the Trade in Services Agreement.

According to Bertossa treating public services as a commodity to be traded fundamentally misunderstands the role of public services. "Public services provide fundamental human rights, social and economic necessities, universally accessible and on the basis of need. They exist because markets will not produce these outcomes" says Bertossa.

TISA and services liberalisation can undermine the right to food, a fundamental human right, by encouraging and enforcing the commercialisation and privatisation of water supply and distribution.

“Over 70% of freshwater consumption takes place in agriculture. Agriculture urgently needs rebuilding to become socially and environmentally sustainable, yet TISA and similar deals take us in the opposite direction by facilitating the corporate appropriation of public resources and closing policy space”, said Peter Rossman, IUF Director of international campaigns and communications.

"The TISA negotiations will export a failed model of postal liberalization to peoples around the world without their ever having a say or ever casting a vote,” said Stephen DeMatteo, Head of Department of UNI Global Union Post & Logistics.

“States must be allowed to ensure that postal services remain the viable and universal public services they have been for generations, to provide all citizens with quality services and workers with quality jobs."

As warn PSI and OWINFS (Our World is not For Sale) in a new joint report on trade, governments are planning to take the world on a liberalisation spree on a scale never seen before. According to the report, this massive trade deal will put public healthcare, broadcasting, water, transport and other services at risk.

The proposed deal could make it impossible for future governments to restore public services to public control, even in cases where private service delivery has failed. It would also restrict a government’s ability to regulate key sectors including financial, energy, telecommunications and cross-border data flows.

In two weeks time, PSI will be holding the first ever global conference to provide a critical perspective on the TISA. It will bring together leading global experts, trade unions from the public and private sector, civil society and government representatives from around the world to share information about the TISA.

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